30 April 2016

Zayn Malik - saviour of Muslim teenagers

Muslim teenagers in Britain, so we are told, are caught between extremism and integration. Thousands of pounds have been spent on projects such as Prevent – arguably a total waste of money. Teenagers don’t care what some crusty MPs and self appointed “community leaders” think. Things are grim.

But the more I think about it, the more I realise there’s only one man who can save us.

Zayn Malik.

Yes, really.

Zayn is one of us, but far cooler. He’s a product of Britain. He’s the successful boy next door, and he can be seen to celebrate and enjoy liberal values – he works hard and plays hard. This month his new album shot to the top of the Billboard chart in the US.

Born in Bradford into a Muslim family, Zayn, like many of us, had to go the local mosque (apparently he’s read the Qur’an three times). [392 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 341 votes] "As Ramadan approaches in a few weeks, Muslim teenagers will again get sick and tired of explaining the concept to their kafir pals. Zayn makes it all all right. He gets it."

Is that a joke? You actually use the word kafir to describe non Muslims. Forget the literal translation, the word has thoroughly negative connotations and is usually applied pejoratively. So where do you get off using this word? Any Muslim teenagers who have non Muslims friends and refer to them as this aren't really getting it. And as for explaining Ramadan to someone, is that such a hardship? It's very straightforward and takes a couple of minutes.

[2ND 320] The day may eventually come where nobody heeds the primitive and divisive tribal nonsense of scripture of any variety. Only then will mankind be saved.

[3RD 271] "kafir pals" in the article is an interesting turn of phrase. Isn't "kafir" a derogatory term?

[4TH 243] Why is the author using the word "Kafir" to describe non-muslims which is a very hateful & derogatory word towards us?

[5TH 237] This is great to read.

You say that young Muslims don't have role models.I think the Guardian should do something more to promote a different kind of young Muslim female role model. There's a place for articles about "why I wear hijab" etc, but what would be truly inspiring is if you gave column space to a young woman who whilst holds on to her faith and values her heritage has decided to say "fuck off!" to some of the more backward components of her religion.

Women who wear T-shirts and short skirts if they want, women who party, go on marches and protests, women trying to reform their religion by choosing to live in a way that isn't traditionally approved of within these communities. That would perhaps allow younger Muslims to feel a little less alone in their confusion at the clash between their faith and western society.

[6TH 202] '...kafir pals', really? And this is supposed to be a position piece? Talk about about 'othering'. Have a word with yourself editor. [Guardian Cif] Read more

Bangladesh: Hindu tailor hacked to death in Tangail

A Hindu tailor has been hacked to death in a district of central Bangladesh, police say, the latest of a number of Islamist killings in the country.

Nikhil Joarder, who was in his early 50s, was attacked as he sat outside his shop in Tangail on Saturday afternoon.

Police said he had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly making derogatory comments about Islam, then released.

Islamic State claimed the attack although the authorities deny the group is active in the country.

A number of similar recent killings in Bangladesh have been claimed by various Islamist militant groups. [BBC] Read more

29 April 2016

Law, not culture, is Europe’s answer to Islam, a pundit says

.... In his latest book, In Europe's Shadow, he goes back to Romania, and finds pleasant surprises, including a happy mixture of devoutly practised eastern Christianity and pro-Western strategic orientation. A country that was literally a dark place in the 1980s, because of economic misery, power shortages and an exceptionally harsh form of communism, has lightened up in many ways, he discovers.

Corruption may flourish but so too does healthy political opposition to that vice. If his optimism is well-founded, then we have to conclude that eastern Christianity and Western political alignment may, after all, be compatible, despite the claims to the contrary by the late Professor Sam Huntington, who popularised the idea of a “clash of civilisations” as a driver of global conflict.

.... So is Mr Kaplan merely repeating the idea, widespread among American conservatives, that Europe, because of its soft-mindedness in the face of Islam, is rapidly turning into Eurabia, a Muslim or half-Muslim space? No, his point is more interesting and nuanced than that. In his view, the historically Christian countries of Europe would be making a mistake if they responded to the Muslim influx by erecting new barriers or raising high the banner of cultural nativism.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 19 votes] I admire the writings of Robert Kaplan but in this case, his recommendation is off the mark.

Why you ask?

Because secular progressive Europeans have proven to be utterly spineless when it comes to confronting the barbaric attitudes and beliefs of their Muslim populations, be that bloodthirstiness for anyone who even so much as criticizes their religion (including against their own fellow Muslims), a worse than medieval attitude towards women and gays and a contempt for secularism and favoring instead of fundamentalism of the one faith on earth that is MOST conducive at this point to violence and barbarism (as opposed to say Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Christianity or Buddhism).

Yes, the best possible thing would have been for secular progressives - and not Christian fundamentalists - to stand up for these values. But these spineless pathetic impotent eunuchs fear the label of racism FAR FAR MORE than they love Western values and will turn and run with their tails between their legs. They want to oh so be loved and accepted so so much, they will lay supine as inferior but prouder cultures that will readily employ violence rape and pillage their civilization.

Unfortunately the only Westerners who seem to have the balls to stand up to the Islamic threat are religions Christians. Not the best choice but infinitely more preferable to the Islamic barbarians.

[2ND 18] "Law, not culture, is Europe’s answer to Islam, a pundit says"

And who makes the laws? The majority. So, what will happen when we have a Muslim majority in Europe in the (near) future?

[3RD 16] .... "In previous writings, what marked Mr Kaplan out from other international-affairs pundits was the way he liked to explore as well as theorise. His musings on state failure were rooted in wanderings round the roughest parts of West Africa, and his ideas about the Balkans were forged in smoky, sweaty writers’ clubs in Sofia and Belgrade. Perhaps now is the moment for him, or some cub reporter under his tutelage, to get on the road again."

Yes! Get on the road again. There is no shortcut to this road.

Credit to secular law for the mere thoughts contained in this refreshing article!

[4TH 15] It is always amusing to see old academics theorising on how the West might absorb the Islamic culture and ideology.

Of course the question might be better answered by observing empirically how minority Muslim society is absorbed in Asia or Africa. The answer of course it isn't. There are Christian/Buddhist/ Hindu societies and there are the Muslims. They do not mix socially and even have different laws. This in itself is not terrible; the problem is that their Sharia law insists that they are superior and that they must convert the others by all means possible - normally by intimidation and violence. Their greatest allegiance will always be to the Uma (the Muslim world) and the Koran.

How anyone can equate the Greek Orthodox of Eastern Europe and their rejection of corruption with the Muslims only confirms that this old academic should leave his ivory tower and start travelling in the real world. [The Economist] Read more

Merkel party calls for state to spy on mosques

Authorities should be keeping an eye on the content of sermons in Germany's mosques, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has said.

“We need to talk about that fact that in some mosques sermons are given that don’t chime with our understanding of the role of the state,” said Volker Kauder, leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag (German parliament), in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung.

“It is the duty of the state to keep checks on that.”

Germany is a secular country “in which religion doesn’t take precedence over the state, but vice versa.”

“Everyone has to abide by this, and all representatives and adherents to a religion need to accept this," Kauder concluded. [The Local] Read more

Unease with Islam on the rise in France and Germany, new poll finds

A new poll published on Friday revealed that a growing number of people in France and Germany hold an unfavourable view of Islam and believe the religion has become too visible in their respective countries.

The study, which was conducted by the polling centre Ifop for French daily Le Figaro, found that 47 percent of French people and 43 percent of Germans felt that the Muslim community poses a “threat” to national identity.

Almost two-thirds of the poll’s respondents in France also said that Islam had become too “influential and visible”, whereas just under half of participants said the same in Germany.

The same study in 2010 found that 43 percent of French people viewed Islam as a threat, while 55 percent said that it was too visible.

A sample of around 1,000 people were surveyed in each country as part of the latest study.

The findings in France, which suggest growing unease with the Muslim religion, come after a year of tragedy during which a total of 147 people were killed in a series of attacks in the Paris area by Islamist gunmen in January and November 2015. [France24] Read more

France gets tough on Muslim footballers praying on pitch

The mayor of Nice has threatened to cut the subsidies of football clubs which fail to respect its new “secularism charter”, that includes keeping religion, in particular Islam, off the football pitch.

France's latest battle to ensure the principles of secularism are being upheld is taking place on the football pitches of the Riviera city of Nice.

In a city where the right wing mayor Christian Estrosi is fighting to prevent a new mosque from opening, authorities are also trying to ensure that Muslims do not bring their religious beliefs anywhere near the municipal football pitches.

They have taken teams to task for beaching a new "secularism charter" that players and clubs are required to adhere to.

Ten breaches of the charter have been reported since last October, according to a report in BFM TV. Most of the incidents consisted of Muslim players praying either on or close to the field, before or during a match. [The Local] Read more

Khola Hasan from Theydon Garnon says she has experienced increased Islamophobia in Epping Forest

A Muslim woman who has been abused and spat at in the street says anti-Muslim hatred in the media is to blame.

Khola Hasan, an Islamic scholar, says the portrayal of Muslims is causing a rise in Islamophobia and making people feel like second-class citizens.

Ms Hasan works for the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton and lives in Theydon Garnon, Epping Forest.

Prejudice and fear towards Muslims has increased in Epping Forest in recent years, she says, in line with increasing Islamophobia nationwide.

“I have seen it everywhere I have been,” she said.

In England and Wales, religiously motivated hate crime rose by 43 per cent from 2013-14 to 2014-15, a government report showed in October last year.

In Epping Forest, Ms Hasan says she has been targeted many times in recent years, and she now avoids going to areas such as Epping High Street. [The Guardian] Read more

28 April 2016

Muslim woman says judge asked her to leave courtroom when she declined to remove her head covering

A Muslim woman in Jefferson Parish says she was discriminated against in court because of her religion. The judge says the incident was simply court procedure.

The woman, who did not want to be identified on camera, says she went to Jefferson Parish Traffic Court on Tuesday to pay off a ticket she received from an accident.

After she cleared security at the entrance, the woman says she walked into the courtroom for her hearing.

"I saw the bailiff and he was motioning for me to remove it from my head, and I clenched on to my covering and shook my head, and mouthed to him 'No, I can't.'"

The woman says she declined to remove the head covering for religious reasons. She says she was then escorted outside the courtroom, and asked to wait. She says she waited almost an hour until her name was called. [WDSU New Orleans] Read more

Germany: "We Need an Islam Law" - Proposal seeks to ban foreign funding of mosques in Germany

A senior German politician has called for an "Islam law" that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques in Germany.

The proposal — modelled on the Islam Law promulgated in Austria in February 2015 — is aimed at staving off extremism and promoting Muslim integration by developing a moderate "European Islam."

The move comes amid revelations that the Turkish government is paying the salaries of nearly 1,000 conservative imams in Germany who are leading mosques across the country. In addition, Saudi Arabia recently pledged to finance the construction of 200 mosques in Germany to serve migrants there.

In an interview with the newspaper Die Welt, Andreas Scheuer, the General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said that Berlin should restrict Turkish financing of mosques in Germany and begin training and certifying its own imams. Otherwise, he argued, Muslim integration will be difficult or impossible to achieve. He said: [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Turkey columnists get two years in jail over Charlie Hebdo cartoon

An Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced two prominent Turkish journalists to two years behind bars for illustrating their columns with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed originally published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The sentence handed to columnists Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan, both columnists with the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, intensified alarm over press freedoms in Turkey under strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has made Islam the cornerstone of his politics.

"The two journalists were sentenced to two years each in jail," said their lawyer Bulent Utku. "We will appeal the ruling at the appeals court," Utku told AFP following a hearing at Istanbul's criminal court.

The pair, who went on trial in January last year, were acquitted of "insulting religious values" but convicted on charges of "inciting public hatred".

They were sentenced to three years in jail, which was reduced to two by the court on technical grounds. [France24] Read more

Ofsted warns of Muslim school staff gender segregation

Inspectors found male and female staff and governors were being divided in Luton's Rabia Boys and Girls School, said the education watchdog.

Last year, Sir Michael wrote to the education secretary with "serious concerns" about staff segregation.

But the Rabia school has strongly rejected the claims and said it was being "unfairly targeted".

Sir Michael has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan advising her that for the initial meeting with inspectors "the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room".

"This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom."

Sir Michael said inspectors, visiting the independent school earlier this month, "gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole-school staff training sessions". [BBC] Read more

27 April 2016

Flooded With Migrants, Germany Struggles to Integrate Them

.... Most of the migrants come from countries where schooling lasts years less than in Germany, said Karl Brenke, a labor and migration expert at the German Institute for Economic Research. Qualifications are difficult to compare. Already, there are 14 people competing for a basic unskilled job, Mr. Brenke said.

He provided figures showing that the number of employable people who are jobless and living on welfare had swelled to 280,000 in December from 116,000 in early 2011. Half are Syrians.

Mr. Brenke said he saw a danger that migrants could remain unemployed for years. Even Mr. Weise admits that employment could prove tough. Seventy percent of asylum applicants in 2015, he said, were under 30. Ten percent could find work within a year, and 50 percent within five years.

Even without accommodating the North Africans, he said, it is already clear that “the refugees are not the work force that the German economy needs.” [NYTimes.com] Read more

Bulgaria’s Pazardzhik municipality bans burqas in public places

The municipal council in the southern Bulgarian town of Pazardzhik voted on April 27 2016 overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on the wearing of the burqa in public places.

The ban, proposed by municipal councillors from the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), was approved by 39 votes in favour, with two against – from the EuroRoma party, and no abstentions.

Pazardzhik municipality, which has a population of about 130 000 in the town of that name and 31 surrounding villages, is the only municipality in Bulgaria to have voted such a ban. However, the nationalist Patriotic Front, of which the NFSB is part, is putting similar proposals to other municipalities and has tabled legislation to the same effect in the National Assembly.

The ban, expected to come into force next week, prohibits the wearing of burqas in public and government buildings and other public places including streets, parks, gardens, restaurants, shops and public transport. [The Sofia Globe] Read more

Norway moves to bar entry to 'hate preachers'

Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug told Aftenposten that ministry officials would review the regulations for residence permits issued to imams, religious leaders and preachers.

The move comes after Aftenposten reported on Monday that the Salafist organization Islam Net invited several highly controversial preachers to its annual conference last month.

“It is unacceptable that religious organizations in Norway invite people to Norway who undermine Norwegian values,” Listhaug said.

The minister said that while she believes in the right to express one’s opinions, she wants to thwart the emergence of radical religious groups in Norway that advocate what she called antisocial viewpoints.

Sindre Bangstad from the Institute for Church, Religion, and Worldview Research (KIFO) told Aftensposten that there is no doubt that some of the people connected to Islam Net have left Norway to become foreign fighters in Syria.

Norway’s plans to take on ‘hate preachers’ are being mirrored in Denmark, where Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen said last month that his government is preparing legislation aimed at imams who “undermine society”. [The Local] Read more

Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters

Hundreds of young Muslim girls have flocked to swimming lessons in Copenhagen's immigrant-heavy Tingbjerg district after Hovedstadens Svømmeklub (Capital City Swimming Club) introduced segregated swimming sessions.

While the swimming club has hailed the move as a "recipe for integration", politicians and commentators have criticised the concept as being against Danish values.

The girl-only sessions, which also take place with windows and doors to the swimming hall blacked out, were set up in response to religious and cultural requirements put forward by parents, reports Berlingske.

The newspaper reports that 246 girls of non-Danish ethnic origin between the ages of five and 12 have begun attending swimming lessons at the hall since the sessions were introduced.

“We have gone from zero to several hundred girls in three years, and have successfully established a swimming option for a specific group, which would otherwise find swimming difficult to access because of religion,” Lars Sørensen, the director of Hovedstadens Svømmeklub (HSK), told Berlingske. [The Local] Read more

Staff segregated by gender at some faith schools, says chief inspector

Teachers and other staff at some independent faith schools are being segregated by gender, the chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has said in a letter to the education secretary.

In one case, staff at Rabia girls and boys school in Luton were segregated during whole-school training, with men in one room while the session was broadcast to women in a separate part of the school.

In a separate incident, the school insisted on segregating male and female staff using a dividing screen across the middle of the room during an initial meeting with inspectors from the schools watchdog, Ofsted.

“This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting, but in a classroom,” said Wilshaw, who warned that such segregation flouts the requirement to promote fundamental British values in schools.

Rabia is a Muslim day school with 160 pupils. It has received a series of adverse Ofsted judgments. Last year, the school was criticised for treating boys and girls differently, limiting girls to sewing and knitting in design and technology classes. [The Guardian] Read more

In state after state, strong GOP support for Trump's Muslim proposal

What was once furious Republican opposition to Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily ban foreign Muslims from entering the U.S. has turned to virtual silence in the face of widespread GOP voter approval.

Exit polls from the nation's biggest Republican primaries show impressive majority support for Trump's proposal. In the latest example, in Pennsylvania Tuesday, 69 percent of GOP voters said they support "temporarily banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S." In New York last week, the number was 68 percent.

In Wisconsin, 69 percent supported Trump's idea. In Florida, 64 percent. Georgia, 68 percent. Ohio, 65 percent. Michigan, 63 percent. New Hampshire, 65 percent. Texas, 67 percent.

Huge majorities across the country in states won by Trump and states won by Ted Cruz — and even the one state won by John Kasich. If those exit polls, measuring the opinions of tens of thousands of people, are correct, the temporary foreign Muslim ban has become a Republican staple. [The Washington Examiner] Read more

Secularism is the key for democracy in a Muslim society

Reactions poured in on April 26 after a statement by Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman late on April 25, in which he said he believed secularism should not be included in the new constitution, which is still being drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti).

“As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are retreating from religion? We are a Muslim country. So we must have a religious constitution,” Kahraman said during a speech in Istanbul at a conference titled “New Turkey and New Constitution.”

As a veteran of Islamist politics in Turkey, Kahraman was enlisted in the AK Parti for the 2015 elections and was suggested by President Tayyip Erdogan to the AK Parti as a candidate for parliament speaker.

.... Until a few years ago, the Turkish example had been presented as a success story, until the narrative was spoiled by the winds of the Arab Spring. President Erdogan’s desire for a shift to a presidential system, which could enable the concentration of executive power in one hand, as well as Parliament Speaker Kahraman’s recent suggestion, should not overshadow this.

Secularism is the key for democracy and state of law in a Muslim society, and it is also the best cure for radicalization. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more

'The hijab has no place in hospitals': Muslim writer says medicine should be free from religion and 'health hazard' clothing should be banned

Recently, I went to a large NHS teaching hospital in London for a blood test. A young couple was behind me in the queue.

He was wearing a suit. She was completely covered. When I was finished and it was their turn, he started getting agitated and spoke loudly at the young man who was due to take blood from his wife.

The husband of the woman in hijab would not let a male doctor take blood. 'I need a woman to do this' he demanded angrily.

When the male nurse explained that there was no one else to take blood, the husband marched his wife away. There would be no blood test for her that day.

It turned out that the morality council in Saudi Arabia had recently announced that no Muslim woman could go to a hospital without a male relative and woman had to be seen by female doctors.

These doctrines are increasingly be followed to the letter by so-called devout Muslims here too.

We are seeing the rise of Wahhabism, a 19th century Saudi Arabian invention, throughout UK society and now in our state hospitals. [Daily Mail] Read more

Religious independent schools ‘actively undermining’ British values, Ofsted chief says

In a letter to education secretary Nicky Morgan, published today, chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said inspectors “continue to find that staff are being segregated because of their gender in Muslim independent schools”.

It follows concerns raised in November by Wilshaw after four in five religious independent schools formerly inspected by the discredited Bridge Schools Inspectorate were rated as inadequate or requires improvement by Ofsted.

The Department for Education (DfE) requested emergency follow-up inspections at three inadeqaute independent faith schools this month.

One school, Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School in Luton, had made improvements but the leaders’ behaviour were “so concerning” that the school remained inadequate.

Wilshaw said: “At the initial meeting with inspectors, the school insisted on segregating men and women through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room.

This meeting was not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom. HMI also gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated during whole-school staff training sessions. Male staff sit in one room and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school.” [Schools Week] Read more

Independent Muslim school in Luton blasted by Ofsted chief for segregating male and female staff

A Luton school has retained its 'inadequate' rating after segregating male and female staff – with the chief inspector of Ofsted directly criticising leaders of the school for 'undermining' British values of equality.

In a stinging letter to education secretary Nick Morgan, Ofsted's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw expresses concerns about gender segregation in three independent faith schools in the town.

But he singled out Rabia Girls' and Boys' School, on Dunstable Road in Bury Park, after inspectors were 'so concerned about the behaviours modelled by the leaders of this school'.

The school was inspected between April 12 and April 21 and inspectors found men and women were being segregated through the use of a dividing screen across the middle of the room, despite the meeting not being of a religious nature.

The inspector also saw staff segregated during training sessions, with males sitting in one room while the training session was simultaneously broadcast to female staff in another part of the school. [Luton On Sunday] Read more

Bangladesh jails 2 Hindu teachers for insulting Islam

A court has jailed two teachers in southern Bangladesh for making derogatory comments about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, invoking a rare law from the British colonial era that makes insulting any religion a crime.

The case began when students at Hijla High School in Bagerhat district complained that the assistant teacher of a science class Sunday dismissed the Quran as the word of Allah and said there was no heaven, Magistrate Anwar Parvez told the Associated Press late Tuesday.

The students, aged 17 to 18, along with others from a nearby, Islamic school became incensed when the high school’s head teacher backed up his colleague. A mob including students, parents and villagers attacked the teachers with sticks, forcing them to lock themselves in a room until police intervened, Parvez said. [The Washington Post] Read more

26 April 2016

Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians': Belgian minister warns Brussels attacks hearing that the continent should not 'make an enemy of Islam'

Muslims will ‘very soon’ outnumber practising Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister claimed yesterday.

Koen Geens, the justice minister, told the European Parliament the continent ‘does not realise this, but this is the reality’.

At a hearing by MEPs into the Brussels attacks, the Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon added that ‘the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam’.

The remarks follow claims by Mr Jambon in the wake of the suicide bombings that ‘a significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place’.

Speaking before the Parliament’s justice and home affairs committee yesterday, Mr Koens said the EU needed to realise a shift in population was taking place.

‘In Europe, very shortly we’re soon going to have more practising Muslims than practising Christians,’ he said.

‘That is not because there are too many Muslims, it is because Christian are generally less practising.

‘Europe does not realise this, but this is the reality. [965 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 3649 votes] Then why do they erode Christian beliefs while protecting the immigrants? Time to start repatriation. They passed laws to stop Christians wearing their symbols of belief but allowed Burqas, and for them to pray 5 times a day and build prayer rooms for them. Time to start to put our values and culture first.

[2ND 3124] I don't want to be a Muslim country! I did not choose to move to a Muslim country!! Previous generations fought for standards above Islam! Wonder if Muslims will be as accommodating to other faiths if they are a majority in Europe ?

[3RD 2069] Don't worry, there will be more atheists than Christians and Muslims combined and we're not going to put up with religious tolerance for much longer. [Daily Mail] Read more

Europe 'to have more Muslims than Christians': Belgian minister warns Brussels attacks hearing that the continent should not 'make an enemy of Islam'

Muslims will ‘very soon’ outnumber practising Christians in Europe, a Belgian minister claimed yesterday.

Koen Geens, the justice minister, told the European Parliament the continent ‘does not realise this, but this is the reality’.

At a hearing by MEPs into the Brussels attacks, the Belgian deputy prime minister Jan Jambon added that ‘the worst thing we can do is to make an enemy of Islam’.

The remarks follow claims by Mr Jambon in the wake of the suicide bombings that ‘a significant section of the Muslim community danced when attacks took place’.

Speaking before the Parliament’s justice and home affairs committee yesterday, Mr Koens said the EU needed to realise a shift in population was taking place.

‘In Europe, very shortly we’re soon going to have more practising Muslims than practising Christians,’ he said.

‘That is not because there are too many Muslims, it is because Christian are generally less practising.

‘Europe does not realise this, but this is the reality.’ [Daily Mail] Read more

In Bangladesh, Serial Killing in the Name of God

There really is no other way to put this. Free thinkers in Bangladesh are being serially hacked to death in their homes. An infamous hit list appeared in 2013 naming 84 “atheist bloggers.” By the end of 2015 there had been seven such murders across the country, and, tragically, this past week alone claimed three more victims.

Rezaul Karim Siddique, a professor of English at Rajshahi University in the country’s northwest, was set upon outside his house as he left for work. Siddique founded a literary magazine called Kamolgandhar and wanted to start a music school in his village as a way to involve his students in extra-curricular activities. But instead he died where he fell, succumbing to severe wounds after he was hacked in the back of the neck by cowards on a passing motorbike.

Only two days later, U.S. embassy employee Xulhaz Mannan, who was one of Bangladesh’s top gay-rights activists and editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine, Roopbaan, was murdered by machete in his home. His friend, another gay rights activist Tanay Mojumdar was also killed. Xulhaz and Tanay were behind the annual “Rainbow Rally,” held April 14 on the Bengali New Year. [The Daily Beast] Read more